Friends of Rhyl Miniature Railway
Newsletter No. 2 April 2002
Easter was early this year, and we had to prepare our steam engine in time for the annual boiler inspection, which took place on
Sunday 24th March. L to R Justin, Alan, Dave, Arthur, John (boiler inspector), Frank, Vernon. We put the cab, splashers and
dome cover back on the following Saturday, in time to open for business on Sunday 31st March.
Marine Lake Improvements Holidays in Southport
At a meeting of the Marine Lake Users’ Forum on 30th Joan, our steam engine, will be going on her Spring
July 2001 it was announced that the Marine Lake may holidays next month to the Lakeside Miniature Railway at
benefit from substantial improvements funded by the Southport. Intended operating days at Southport will be
Welsh Development Agency. May 18th/19th, 25th/26th.
In November TACP Architects were appointed to The Lakeside Miniature Railway first opened three weeks
prepare a five year management plan and prepare later than the RMR, at Whitsun 1911, and has been
proposals for capital improvements. After public operating trains more or less ever since. Most of its
consultation a scheme was drawn up for replacement present equipment was built from the 1940s by the
of the wall adjacent to the Wellington road, railway’s then owner Harry Barlow. Last year the line was
improvement of the site entrance from the Voryd purchased by Don Clark and friends.
bridge (including relaying the level crossing), and The original steam locomotives are long since gone, but a
landscaping works along the north side of the site. The memorable one-off enthusiast event was held in March
plans incorporate a space for our new station building, 1983 when three ‘Little Giants’, George the Fifth, Princess
and a formal entrance to the site not far from our Elizabeth and Synolda were all in steam at Southport. A
present platform, from the market area opposite us. chance remark at this event led to the salvage of some
The architects certainly believe that these works will parts from another Class 10 ‘Little Giant’, and around
create a much brighter perspective to the site. these was built a new steam locomotive Red Dragon.
There have been difficulties in letting the contract for On May 18th it is hoped to have both Joan and Red Dragon
the works, and at the moment construction has not yet operating trains, in conjunction with a visit by the
begun. Heywood Society.
RMR Winter Work Programme 2001/2002
Most of our winter work has been on the steam Plans to exchange this machine directly for more
locomotive, and relatively little of it will be immediately ‘heritage’ equipment were put on hold when we received
visible. Suffice it to say that over the last 5 years we a cash offer for it. Unfortunately the offer has not yet
have now tackled virtually every part of the engine. been matched by cash; the offeror tells us that funding
The front valve gear linkages, rockers and valve rods for his scheme is expected to arrive from Hong Kong.
had become very worn. We turned for help to Roger In the meantime the unit has had its cables disconnected
Hine of the Bala Lake Railway who helped us to pending transportation. It is highly unlikely that it will
dismantle it, and took two buckets of bits to his operate on our track again.
workshop at Llanuwchllyn. These returned to us with
new valve rods and other parts, following which Frank Air brake project
Humphreys and Arthur Jones took over, made new Some brake hangers have been cut out, and new brake
rocker bearings, and reassembled it all. shoes cast. This will hopefully be the focus of our
Further intrigue followed to set the valves, but it now attention next winter.
all works perfectly, and ‘full gear’ is more ‘full’ than it
has been before in recent times. Station Improvements
We took the tender running gear apart principally to We spent most of the Friends’ subscription money buying
clean it all up and free the brake gear properly. This timber for the new station fence panels. They slot into
revealed not only muck aplenty, but all six brake shoes sockets behind the platform. When the bulk of the panels
were locked solidly to the hangers, one wheel was and two benches became clear we found that a special
loose on its axle, and one wheel bearing excessively vehicle would be needed to carry them to and from our
worn. Now it is all back together as the maker shed each day. Justin therefore made a new van, which
intended, with new bearings in place. utilises two small bogies.
The very observant will also notice that the inside of
the cab has been painted, and more shiny brasswork Track
has broken out in various places. Frank promises to Some new sleepers were put in by Oakland Avenue. This
have harsh words with any drivers who do not keep it work uses up all our spare energy, and will be ongoing for
all clean! some years yet.
The starter handle has been fixed, the seat and gas Our new leaflet is presently at the printers. Currently,
linkages repaired, and the locomotive fitted with a new uncertainty about the timing and impact of the
clockwork start mechanism. WDA/TACP works means that we will probably focus
publicity on the school holiday season, when (hopefully)
we will be certain of being able to operate on the
The new van being painted. Our station looks much smarter than it did before, with the new
fencing and bench, Easter Monday 2002.
Congratulations to our friends at Cleethorpes Coast
Light Railway who have recently acquired locomotives,
stock and buildings from the former Sutton Miniature
Railway, which closed in 1962. Their project received
substantial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund,
which should be an encouraging example for us.
We understand that restoration is also planned for the
SMR’s third steam locomotive, Bassett-Lowke 4-4-2
Mighty Atom, which last steamed in 1953. We will watch
this project with particular interest, because Mighty Atom
(built in 1908) is very similar to our railway’s two
original locomotives Prince Edward of Wales (1911) and
George the Fifth (1912).
Trust Building Proposal
On 10th September 2001 the Trustees met with four
firms of architects, following which we asked
The Cagney is Coming Denbighshire Design Services to act for us. It was
pleasing to find that all four firms expressed great
Now being restored in a workshop near Wrexham is interest in our ideas, and were obviously confident that
Simon Townsend’s little 4-4-0 Cagney engine, which he the project is feasible.
purchased in February 1999 at an auction in North We have recently seen first proposals for the design, and
Carolina. will be sure to keep ‘Friends’ in touch with our progress.
The Cagney brothers were enterprising Irish Americans,
based in New York, who were the first to spot the
amusement value of riding on little trains. ‘Cagney’
RHYL STEAM PRESERVATION TRUST
locomotives operated on the earliest 15in gauge pleasure
Trustees: Les Hughes (Chairman), Carol Hughes,
railways in this country, from 1901. Sources differ as to
Cllr Joan Butterfield JP, Simon Townsend (Secretary),
when our example was built, but it is likely to have been
around 1910. It is definitely among the oldest 15in gauge
Enquiries about railway operations should be addressed
engines in this country.
to the Trust Secretary, 10 Cilnant, Mold, CH7 1GG, Tel
From the 1940s until the 1980s our locomotive worked
with two other Cagneys on the 16in gauge Lancaster and
Chester Railway in Springs Park, Fort Mill, South Carolina,
where it was numbered 44. The little L&C railway was the Friends of Rhyl Miniature Railway
brainchild of Colonel Elliott Springs, who owned huge
textile mills nearby, which were served by the full sized Our group has been formed to support the Rhyl Steam
L&C ‘short line’. #44 was purchased ‘disassembled’, which Preservation Trust in its aims to preserve and operate
transpired to mean that the tender and other important the railway.
parts were missing. Membership costs £5.00 per annum and runs to 31st
Since the locomotive arrived in this country much work May each year, including newsletters issued in April and
has been done by Steve Bell, including the construction of September.
a brand new tender, to the original Cagney dimensions. A President of the Friends is Rev Alan Cliff, whilst its
new boiler has been manufactured by Messrs Franklin & Chairman is Simon Townsend.
Bell. For Subscriptions and Enquiries: Secretary and
A fair number of parts still need to be made and fitted, but Treasurer of the Friends are Dave and Justin Bell, of 22
work is progressing as each week goes by. River Street, Rhyl LL18 1PT, Tel 01745 339477.
1,300 of these engines were built, so we are assured that it
is of a successful design, even if not intended for tracks as
long as ours at Rhyl. Once complete we hope that Cagney Friends’ Newsletter: We hope that future issues will
#44 will spend time both with us and with our friends at include features on the long history of our railway, as
the Windmill Farm Railway. And at other places, including well as topical items. Any contributions for publication
the R&ER and RH&DR, if they will have us! should be sent to Simon Townsend.
Rhyl Miniature Railway
Marine Lake, Rhyl
BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAYS AND MONDAYS
31 March, 1 April; 5 & 6 May; 3 & 4 June; 25 & 26 August
EVERY SUNDAY FROM 16 JUNE TO 8 SEPTEMBER
EVERY THURSDAY FROM 25 JULY TO 22 AUGUST
Steam trains will operate from 1pm until 5pm on all of the above dates, weather permitting.
Diesel trains may also operate during the peak season, subject to demand and availability,
from 11.30am on Sundays, and from 2pm on most days during the summer school holidays
Find us behind the Ocean Beach funfair. Rhyl Steam Preservation Trust offers a mile long ride
on our historic fifteen inch gauge railway, now operated entirely by volunteers.
Enquiries: Telephone 01352 759109 www.rhylminiaturerailway.co.uk